A Walk in the Woods
These guys still know how to not just hold our attention but grab it, even if their current film needs them more than they need…
Olivia Collette has been deconstructing movies since she realized some of her friends were willing to humor her. She has a thing for Laxmi Chhaya dance routines, a crush on Fellini, and a non-negotiable fear of zombie flicks. Based in Montreal, Olivia has written for various print and online publications, including the Montreal Gazette, World Film Locations: San Francisco, Sparksheet, Indiewire’s Press Play blog and the Spectator Arts Blog. She discusses pop culture at Livvy Jams and dissects our inconsistent obsession with body image on The Scrawn. If you see Olivia at Ebertfest, make sure to have your song ready, because she’s totally dragging you to Karaoke.
Memories don't really have a beginning, a middle and an end. They're more like vignetted sensations, impressions and paraphrases, where the most prominent detail might be sticky fingers from handling a bunch of wheat. If you could only live with one memory for all eternity, which would it be? That's the question Hirokazu Koreeda's "After Life" asks, while also showing us what makes something memorable.
If there's anything that characterizes Quebec cinema, it's chutzpah despite limited means. The government grants that fund Quebec filmmakers' projects add up to small salaries, but that doesn't restrict their artistic vision. Plus, Quebec's homegrown movies have a better chance at domestic box-office success, where the rest of Canada tends to prefer Hollywood imports. But because the films don't always leave the province, you might miss them altogether if you don't catch local showings.
How do things work in a perfect world? The book of Genesis tells us this much: every living thing lives in harmony, food is plentiful, there is no such thing as pain, and nobody knows the difference between good and evil.
That's the loophole the serpent uses to convince Eve to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. "God said not to because I'll die," she protests. "You won't die," the serpent says. "You'll just be wiser, like God, and see things the way he does." So Eve eats the fruit because she can't conceive of anything that isn't perfect, and if God is wise, then wisdom is perfect too. As for Adam, the Bible never really attributes any motive to his deed. He just seems to take the fruit from Eve without question.
The Internet is a nit-picky place, so I'm going to put it out there right away: I'm no linguist. But I've been bilingual since birth, and I also learned Italian, German and Spanish along the way. That's why it's always fascinated me how languages can be so functionally distinct.
I noticed that in Latin languages, nouns tend to describe what a thing is, while Germanic languages likely tell you what it does. A great example is the French word for skunk, "mouffette," which recalls the creature's billowing tail with "mouffe" and denotes its small size with "ette." Compare it to the German equivalent, "Stinktier," which literally means stinky animal.
No wonder so many people thought Jesus was a heretic! All this talk of a kind and forgiving God? I mean, did he skip the bit where God asks Abraham to kill his favourite son? Wasn't flooding the entire world a little rash? Can ordering that hit on Amalekites be classified as reasonable behaviour? Let's face it, Old-Testament God could use a little anger management.
I don't know if people actually deal with grief in five stages, but I've always done it in two: depression and acceptance. I really commit to the sadness, too. I lock myself up for a good week, let the woe take me to the places it wants to show me, and I make sure to get a good look. Eventually I work my way to my near-ornamental piano. I'll revisit Chopin, Beethoven and show tunes. Sometimes the disappointment of my rustiness adds volume to the misery, which isn't uninvited. Giving in somehow makes it go away.
If there's one thing that's consistently omitted from most Disney fairy tale adaptations, it's abject horror. They certainly make up for it by giving us terrific villains (Maleficent still haunts me), but a lot of the foul and gory details are left out.
Fairy tales aren't meant to be enchanting; they're supposed to be cautionary, terrifying even. Stories with female protagonists--like Cinderella and especially Snow White--reflect aging housewives' fears of being usurped by younger, stronger, fertile women.
With the exception of "The Matrix" and the odd documentary, movies tend to pay only lip service an architect's job. "Sleepless in Seattle's" Sam Baldwin is an architect, but he might as well be a meat-packer. The movie is a romantic comedy with little room for anything but serendipity. It takes us to a couple of architectural landmarks, but not because Sam's profession compels him to.
So naturally, I was curious to know what the architectural community thought of "Inception," where the discipline is actually effectual. I was a bit disappointed to discover that while architectural journalists were entertained by the film, they didn't care much for its buildings. James Benedict Brown calls Ariadne "a dependable square," Aaron Betsky says her work is "banal," and David Neustein finds that Cobb and Mal's dream city is "hardly a honeymoon destination."